Winter is coming. No, it’s here.
Snow began Sunday evening, hitting areas of King County with lowland snow of 1 to three inches. By Monday morning, numerous school districts had made the call to cancel school for the day.
The Bellevue School District announced early Monday that classes were canceled on Feb. 4. Other districts to follow suit include: Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Northshore, Shoreline and Seattle. Most cited safety concerns due to road conditions. And most districts decided to remain closed Tuesday, Feb. 5.
A winter storm warning impacting Bellevue and vicinity areas of Snohomish, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah was in effect until 1 p.m. Monday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It predicted heavy snowfall into early Monday afternoon with accumulations of 5 to 10 inches for these areas. The areas hit hardest were Everett, Woodinville, Mountlake Terrace, Kenmore to North Seattle, said Mike McFarland, meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In Port Angeles there was anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of snow. And places in Snohomish County measuring 6,7 and 8 inches of snow on the ground.
The snow is a result of upper level lows or cold troughs that dropped down from the north. “It seems to be a good snow pattern for us considering what it did Sunday and Monday,” McFarland said.
Snow in February is not uncommon in our region of the state. The most recent snowfall in the SeaTac area happened On Feb. 21 last year, McFarland said. A cold snap brought an inch. This time SeaTac is up to 2.7 inches of snowfall. An inch fell on Sunday before midnight and another 1.7 inches came down after midnight on Monday.
“It was so mild in December and January you do forget it can be wintery in February,” McFarland said. “It’s just a matter of setting up the right pattern.”
Lowland snow is more common in February than March. But McFarland did recall an instance in the early 1980s when Lake stevens was hit with a foot of snow from a convergent zone.
The Washington State Department of Transportation had about 100 plows and trucks out between King County and the Canadian Border on Monday, clearing roads for commuters. Two trucks were struck by drivers on Sunday, putting them out of commision.
In Bellevue, snow in the Woodridge neighborhood measured to seven inches in certain areas. “Please don’t take message on the tape measure seriously — today! Stay home if you can,” read a Tweet from the Bellevue Transportation Department. They said main arterals remained their priority in snow clearing efforts.
The Seattle Department of Transportation was working Sunday to pre-treat streets and sidewalks at noon. On Feb. 4, they had 30 crews out using some of their 90 tons of granular salt to help clear road.
On the Eastside, some King County metro routes were not operating on certain streets. And 29 others had no pre-planned snow routes and were operating on their typical pathways but “with possible significant delays due to weather, road or traffic conditions,” according to the metro website.
Helping to keep commuters safe were close to 30 state troopers, out on patrol in all zones of King County, said Trooper Rick Johnson, information officer for Washington State Patrol. This was the normal amount, he added, but the road conditions kept responders busy.
“The main message is not to travel if you don’t have to,” he said. “If you do take it very slow. We have had one of our patrol vehicles hit this morning while the trooper was investigating a collision on 405.” Johnson warned that as temperatures drop this evening, for commuters to “expect very slippery roads overnight.”
More snow could be on the way. King County residents should anticipate another bout of snow later in the week beginning Friday evening. “Keep an eye on this thing for Friday night and Saturday,” McFarland warned. “It’s not a bad idea to get ready for another round.”